April 26, 2015

Asian-Americans in Congress 2012

10- The number of Asian Americans who launched bids for Congress in 2010

30- The number of Asian Americans who have launched bids for Congress in 2012.

In a recent article written by CNN, it states that Asians are among the fastest growing groups in the U.S. and that because three times as many Asian-Americans have been running for Congress this year than in the past election, it signifies “changes in demographic trends and reflects the recent political awakening of a minority group long confined to the margins of American society.”

In addition, candidates from New York, Tennessee, and Florida are looking to become the first people of Asian descent from their state to join Congress.

If you continue to read the article, Judy Chu (D-California) makes a great point about the significance of these numbers beyond politics. She talks about the typical Asian American and Pacific Islander stereotype of how we are always quiet, don’t speak up, and don’t fight back. As an Asian-American youth, I can’t help but agree.

Aside from all the differing views of political policies from Democrats or Republicans, this issue of a minority group propelling itself to hold positions in Congress is truly a huge step towards not only influencing other Asian politicians, but also the youth in America to hold leadership positions and oust stereotypes.

Of course, no issue would be complete without its critics. In this case, many critics still debate about how much trustworthy and loyal these Asians are to America. Absurd, right?

But for now, let’s toast to the recent wave of new Asian-American faces making a run at Congress!

Hedge funds switch political donations

hedge fund donations Dem v Rep

We all knew anecdotes of hedge funders switching up their political donations from Democrats to Republicans after 2008, but here’s the proof in red, white, and blue.

The hedge fund industry’s political donations did a 180 between 2008 and 2010. Hedge funders were pissed that their faithful donations to Democrats were met with bills to cap their gains, and have since shifted donations to Republicans. And how.

This means that Democrats will have to work that much harder to get their base voters out, and appeal to working class families.


Happy 2011

All of us at AAA-Fund wish you and your family a festive and memorable New Year.  Just wanted to share some quick reflections:


1. John Delloro

2. Joe Fernandez


1. California Attorney General-Elect Kamala Harris

2. Congressmember-Elect Hansen Clarke

Happy 2011!

— Gautam Dutta

Joe Fernandez, RIP

Joe Fernandez, a prominent lawyer who ran for Rhode Island Attorney General this year, dies at the young age of 46.   Our thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.

— Gautam Dutta

AAAF Newsletter, 12/17/10

Asian American Action Fund
Online Newsletter
Volume 10, Number 23, Dec 17, 2010
For more, visit www.aaa-fund.org
Send comments to info@aaa-fund.org.
Subscribe and unsubscribe info below.
1. Ted Lieu For CA Senate
2. DREAM Act Blogathon
3. Supporting the AAA-Fund
1. Ted Lieu For CA Senate

California State Assemblymember Ted Lieu represents
the 53rd Assembly District, which stretches from
Venice and parts of Los Angeles to Torrance and
Lomita along the coast. He was elected in September
2005, re-elected in November 2006 and re-elected
again in November 2008.

Dedicated to his country, Assemblymember Lieu
currently holds the rank of Major in the United
States Air Force Reserves. He served on active duty
for four years as a member of the JAG Corps.

In November 2010, Assemblyman Lieu announced he will
seek to replace Sen. Jenny Oropeza in the 28th Senate
District. Sen. Oropeza, of Long Beach, died
unexpectedly in October, but her name remained on the
Nov. 2 ballot and won the most votes. A special
election to fill the seat will be called next week
when new members of the Assembly are sworn in.

Please make donations and offer to help in this special
election, which will take place shortly.  For more
information, please go to http://tedlieu.com/?q=node/33

2. DREAM Act Blogathon

Worried and angry about the DREAM Act’s progress through
Congress? Want to remind them what it’s about?

Tell us and all our readers!

AAA-Fund proudly announces its December 2010 Blogathon.
Please send us your blog post on the following topic:
Why does America need the DREAM Act?


Send your entries to Richard Chen (rchen@aaa-fund.org).

But hurry! The deadline: Thursday, December 23, 7 pm ET.

We will review and publish every entry that meets our
standards for publication (translation: well written
content, but no abusive or offensive language). Please
make sure to include a suggested title for your piece.

As with our Blogathon last year, readers will get to
decide the winner each week. Details will follow in the
individual entries’ posts.

The prize? A free ticket for you and one significant
other (a $200 value) to AAA-Fund’s Spring 2011 Annual
Dinner in Washington, DC.

More info:  http://www.aaa-fund.com/?p=6419

3. Supporting the AAA-Fund

As 2010 comes to a close, the AAA-Fund board, staff
and interns would like to thank each of you for your
help and support over the past year.  We could not
have done all we accomplished for our endorsed
candidates without your help.

To help us keep up the momentum as we start the 2011
campaign cycle, please consider donating to us.
Thanks, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Donate here:  http://tinyurl.com/8tx2fq

Congressman-elect Hansen Clarke's 1st Annual Holiday Reception

invitationYou are cordially invited to join Congressman-elect Hansen Clarke for his First Annual Holiday Reception
Tuesday, December 14th, 6:30pm
Roma Cafe
3401 Riopelle Street, Detroit, MI 48207

Contributions to Hansen Clarke for Congress are not tax deductible. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200.00 in an election cycle.

Congressman-elect Hansen Clarke Holiday Reception
__ Yes, I would like to attend Congressman-elect Clarke’s Holiday Reception. Enclosed is my check for $_____ for ____ guests.
__ I am unable to attend but have enclosed a check for $_____ in support of Congressman-elect Hansen Clarke.
Employer Address:__________________
Employer Phone:__________________
$1,000 Sponsor
$500 Supporter
$250 Contributor
$100 Guest

Mail checks to:
Hansen Clarke For Congress
1448 Woodward Ave Ste 305
Detroit, MI 48226

RSVP by December 10 to 313-971-2455 and return the form.

Paid for and authorized by Hansen Clarke For Congress.

The GOP doesn't care about Asians, but they should

Well, except for Sharron Angle. (Oh, snap!)

But really, I mean it. The GOP doesn’t care about its Asian American candidates. They left their two Congressmen twisting in the wind when it came time to invest in races. (And the National Republican Congressional Committee had a LOT of moola to spread around.)

Esrtwhile RNC Chairman Michael Steele has said that one of his main goals is to diversify the GOP but he lost 2 of 3 Asian American GOP Congressmembers – Charles Djou of Hawaii and everyone’s favorite Republican, Joseph Anh Cao. of Louisiana.

Meanwhile, compare that to the investment that the Democratic Party made in APA candidates and in an APA field program this cycle. They hired an AAPI Vote Director at the DNC and fielded operatives to swing states. Moreover, they made an investment in APA candidates, from Colleen Hanabusa in Hawaii to Manan Trivedi in Pennsylvania. Candidates like Hansen Clarke in Michigan and Hanabusa in Hawaii picked up seats for the Democratic column.

At the federal level, a lot of this is due to DNC Vice Chair Rep. Mike Honda’s efforts to fund a community that is part of the Democratic base vote and his staunch advocacy of AAPI turnout. (Just ask Harry Reid.)

Plus California should have a new Asian American attorney general in Kamala Harris once the flurry of vote counting is over. The latest AP report has her up by 43,000 votes over Republican Steve Cooley with more than 9.3 million votes counted. Let’s just not imagine the inevitable recount and litigation nightmare.

Here’s the twist though – even if the GOP doesn’t care about Asian American candidates, they should care about APA voters. In California, it looks like that might be their last chance to even the playing field. According to a this Los Angeles Times article, “The party that wins Asian voters may benefit for decades”, comprehensive new poll by Greenberg Quinlan (see the crosstabs here), Asian American voters are more open to GOP candidates than other minority voters.

The poll provided a rare look at Asian voters, whose numbers among voters, estimated at 7% of the California electorate, are usually too small to analyze in detail.

If not as dominant a presence as Latinos, who were 19% of registered voters, Asians are also growing in number, part of the changing face of California.

“Somebody is going to have to mobilize them,” said Jane Junn, a USC professor of political science who helped design the survey. “If you get them now, you will get them and their kids and their kids’ kids. It’s a risk for the Democrats if they don’t mobilize them. It’s a risk for Republicans because if they don’t get Asians on their side, they’re gone in California.”

There were a lot of areas of commonality but the two sharpest area of contrast were on same sex marriage and how to fix our broken immigration system. Also interesting was the concern about the environment (but I’m going to chalk this up to it being a California poll. Sadly, I don’t see as many APAs involved in the environmental or environmental justice movement out East.):

On immigration, Asians agreed with Latinos on backing a temporary worker program and allowing undocumented residents to gain citizenship if they fulfilled certain dictates. And they favored a measure that would allow citizenship for those who graduate from college or serve in the military.

But they differed sharply on whether employers who hire illegal immigrants should be fined: Latinos disagreed and Asians strongly agreed. And on the emotional matter of whether illegal immigrants should be barred from services like emergency room care or public school admission, Latinos strongly disagreed and Asians narrowly agreed.

As a progressive Democrat, I think that the younger generation is moving fairly firmly into the blue column, but this poll looks across generations, and I agree that there’s room for the GOP to make in-roads. Voting Democratic isn’t something that’s permanently entrenched in most APA culture, except for possibly amongst Japanese Americans, who have some of the highest turnout rates and Democratic affiliation of any APA ethnicity, probably due to historical causes.

Building party loyalty is something that takes decades but you have to start somewhere. Running on ideas and a platform creates a base of voters who are willing to not only espouse your vision and values but who also go out and preach them. Which is ultimately better than investing in intimidation tactics that further drive generations of voters into Democratic arms. Encouraging folks to go out and having educational materials in language, a la the Murkowski campaign, is better for our democracy. And that’s a dialogue and a contest that I genuinely want both parties to join.


Jean Quan's Victory, Crocodile Tears for Don Perata

From our New America Foundation friend Joe Mathews (reprinted from FoxandHoundsDaily.com):

I Cry for Don Perata

By Joe Mathews

Journalist and Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He is co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010).

It is terrible what happened to Don Perata in the race for Oakland mayor.

Did you hear? The man who ruled the state senate lost his bid to be mayor of Oakland. And it’s just so unfair, as many of Perata’s supporters have made clear. Perata’s consultant John Whitehurst declared that the election outcome had been “an injustice, and Oakland will pay the price.”

The problem, you see, was this new system called Instant Runoff Voting now being used in Oakland, San Francisco, and other cities around the country. In this system, cities – crazily — give voters more choice and avoid expensive runoff elections by allowing voters to rank their choices on the ballot, instead of just choosing one candidate.

So Perata, a fabulous public servant, won the most first place of any of the nine candidates running for mayor. He got 35 percent of those first place votes. But he lost because 35 percent of votes wasn’t a majority. The woman who finished in second place among first-place votes, a city council member named Jean Quan, won when the ranked choices were used to conduct an instant runoff. She had many more second and third place choices than Perata, and won when those were added to the tally.

Think about how unfair this is to Perata. Here he was, a prominent former leader in the state legislature who had by far the most money to spend in the race. And the public opposition to his bid for mayor was minor. After all, only two-thirds of the city’s voters didn’t see him as their first choice for mayor. And a majority of the city didn’t even want him as one of their first three choices.

So he totally should have won.

Or at the very least, there should have been a real runoff between the top two first-place vote getters in the interest of the taxpayers — instead of just the cheaper instant runoff that saved the taxpayers money. That runoff contest would have been a wonderful expression of democracy, with low turnout and a negative campaign in which Perata could have used his financial advantage to savage Quan personally. Which is how we conduct fair elections in a free country.

What injustice! I cry for Don Perata. I cry for democracy. And I cry for Oakland, and particularly that minority of voters who saw this great man as one of their three top choices for mayor – and didn’t get him because of this terrible system.

Congratulations to Kamala Harris!

Asian American Action Fund
Online Newsletter
Volume 10, Number 22, Nov 25, 2010
For more, visit www.aaa-fund.org
Send comments to info@aaa-fund.org.
Subscribe and unsubscribe info below.
Dear Members,

As you sit down to dinner with your families and friends,
the Board of the AAA-Fund wishes you all a happy and
healthy Thanksgiving.  We all have a lot to be thankful
for, including some good news that has just come in
from California.

We would like to send our heartiest congratulations to
our endorsed candidate Kamala Harris on her narrow
victory over Republican Steve Cooley to become California’s
next Attorney General.  “As a woman of African American and
South Asian American ancestry, who also brings excellent
legal skills and a commitment to justice to the table,
Kamala will be the personification of a justice system
that is compassionate, fair, and accessible to people of
all backgrounds,” said Kiran Jain, Northern California
Chair of the AAA-Fund.

“Kamala has always gone out of her way to be a lawyer
representing all of the people,” said Marybelle Ang,
California Chair of the AAA-Fund.  “She has worked on
homicide and robbery cases, but also has specialized in
prosecuting child sexual assault cases.  Based on this
experience, we know that she will be an outstanding
Attorney General for our state.”

“Kamala is part of the next generation of California
Asian Pacific American public servants taking the baton
from leaders such as Norm Mineta, Bob and Doris Matsui,
and Mike Honda to move up the ladder to the state’s highest
offices,” said Gautam Dutta, Executive Director of the
AAA-Fund.  “We have supported her since her election in
December 2003 to the San Francisco District Attorney post,
and look forward to supporting her in the years ahead in
what is certain to be a landmark public service career.”

Born and raised in the East Bay, Kamala’s strong commitment
to justice and public service led her to Howard University,
America’s oldest historically black university, and then
to the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
After working in the Alameda County District Attorney’s
Office, she served in the San Francisco District Attorney’s
Office before being elected to serve as San Francisco
District Attorney in 2003 and then again in 2007.

Kamala Harris is one of nine AAA-Fund-endorsed candidates
who won in November 2010, including the first American of
Bangladeshi heritage to serve in Congress, Hansen Clarke (D-MI).
For more information, see http://www.aaa-fund.org/main/winners.php

Enjoy the holiday weekend!


The Asian American Action Fund Board

Breaking: Kamala Harris (Almost) Wins

After thoroughly dissecting the numbers, LA Weekly calls the California Attorney General’s race for AAA-Fund endorsee Kamala Harris.

— Gautam Dutta